What dangers come with Beta, Bangkok’s latest COVID variant?

Seating arrangements and measures at Bangkok Hospital during COVID-19 Outbreak

Seating arrangements and acrylic shields installed to prevent the spreading of COVID-19 coronavirus and to keep social distance between nurses and patients at the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration General Hospital, a public hospital in Bangkok. Photo: © ILO/Alin Sirisaksopit / flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Barely a month after the Beta variant emerged in the deep South, it has managed to travel more than 1,000 kilometres north to Bangkok where COVID-19 cases were already surging by thousands each day.

On June 28, the Medical Sciences Department confirmed that a single Beta case had been found in the capital, triggering medical experts to sound the alarm.

What threat does Beta carry?

First detected in South Africa late last year, the Beta variant – also known as B1.351 – blunts the efficacy of most COVID-19 vaccines. In clinical trials, two doses of AstraZeneca vaccine proved to be only 10.4 per cent effective in preventing mild to moderate B1.351 infections.

Research at Boston Children’s Hospital in the US shows changes to spikes on the Beta variant mean antibodies generated by vaccines are less able to bind to the virus, which allows it to evade the immune system of even fully inoculated people.

Full story: thaipbsworld.com

By Thai PBS World

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